In the process of building our businesses one of the most frustrating issues must surely be the difficulties we encounter in contacting people in other businesses.
The “firewalls” that people create around themselves are normally justified on the basis that a person is busy and really should not be bothered by some insignificant “outsider” who will probably only waste their time.
These are all bad reasons and completely unnecessary while also showing a large degree of ignorance and arrogance.
Most of us have encountered this, especially when trying to make contact with somebody in a medium to large organization.
Then there is the officious secretary, PA or telephone operator who demands to know just what is it that you want to speak to Mr. X about, or the assistant who is quick to inform you that you could write a letter to corporate relations where the matter will be attended to by an appropriate person.
Any manager who delegates to an assistant the right to interrogate people who are trying to contact them, should hide their heads in shame for they are likely to miss many opportunities.
Considering the dismal record of organizations to innovate and the regularity with which innovation emanate from small businesses, these “Firewalls” do not only keep people out they also keep ideas and opportunities out.
Anybody in a small business will probably be able to identify with this, but the most remarkable thing is that by the time a small business can afford to employ somebody to answer phones or act as a PA they themselves often adopt this same behaviour.
If we are serious about growing our businesses and our own abilities, we should not create “firewalls” to keep people or ideas out and stay mindful that “firewalls” often works in both directions.
It might be a good idea to examine any “firewalls” you may have created around yourself and your business.
We simply have to develop a mechanism whereby message can be taken in a friendly manner and calls returned promptly, it is not a difficult process to establish and it is easy to implement.
As for contacting people hidden behind “firewalls”, there too, we have to find solutions and as Percy Ross put it, a clever, imaginative, humorous request can open closed doors and closed minds.